Friday, December 24, 2010


Merry Christmas Everyone

Friday, December 17, 2010

Under Attack

Attack of the ice storm...

Attack of the starlings....

 Attack of the school supplies...

Yes, that is indeed a robin in the middle of December sitting in an ice covered tree. Brrr. Then a thousand starlings flew in like a big black carpet, then flew away. The school supplies? Well, that's what I found on a trip to a teacher supply store. I keep forgetting that store is there. They sell all kinds of teacher supplies, but are open to the public. It's been a long time since my last visit, and I was surprised to see they now sell a lot of scrapbooking supplies. Plus mini file folders in different colors. And library pockets and pocket cards in all colors.  And narrow masking tape in different colors.  Not that I would buy any of that... okay, fine, I bought all of it.

Even the ice storm did not deter me from my plan yesterday. I just got a later start than I had planned. I sure didn't want to miss out on a day with my freakishly tall friend (who uses the word 'freakishly' a lot) and my freakishly sick friend (being cared for so lovingly by her freakishly kind husband). We made freakishly cool books. A fun time was had by all.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Goodies

This Christmas tree is just full of surprises. 
Some things will make you smile, some will entertain you,
and some will give you something to do.
So click on the different sections of the tree and see what you get!


Thursday, December 9, 2010


[alternative pronunciations:  Drar-ing, drawin' ]

One of my biggest frustrations in life is that I can't draw.  I know how to hold a pencil, and I know what things look like. So why can't I put the two together and draw things?  I guess it's like everything else, if you do it enough, you will master it.  So I think I just need to make an effort to draw more.

Nevertheless, I can doodle enough to remind myself of things I don't want to forget.  Like this....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Topsy Turvy Book

I'd like to introduce my new topsy turvy journal.  It started out as a spell book, which has now been dismembered and is no more. 

I liked the size and wanted to make another journal with the covers.  It has great endpapers too.  (I'm pretty sure I got the book at one of Gaye's yard sales.)  The main purpose of this new journal is to try out some new papers recommended by LK Ludwig in her online class, Just 3 Journals.  I found a great deal on Stonehenge and Lenox papers at JerrysArtarma online.  For years, I've used Fabriano Artistico and still love it.  But it has gotten so expensive and I am venturing out to try something new.

I made this book combining the seed pearl stitch and sewn over tapes.  I really like how it turned out. 
The reason the book is "topsy turvy" is that when you open the front cover, there are five signatures of the Stonhenge paper.

Flip the book over, and the back cover becomes the front cover, and there are five signatures of Lenox 100 paper. I'll try them both out and see which I like better.


I'm sure I'll add something else to the cover, but for now I'm loving this new journal!  However, I am trying to figure out why I think I need yet another journal to work in!  I guess I'll just admire my multi-tasking skills instead.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I did it in the name of research.  I did it for you.  I needed to find out the difference between the fortunes in Chinese fortune cookies and Thai fortune cookies.  The fact that I ate a whole box of Thai fortune cookies is irrelevant.  (They are yummy, by the way.  And I did not eat them all at once.)  I like the parchment paper fortunes in the Thai cookies.

I'm working on binding a new book, and hope to show it soon.....

Happy belated Thanksgiving by the way.  I was working.  It was raining.  And I woke up to snow this morning!  Life is full of changes and surprises...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Meanwhile, back in the laboratory....

I've seen different versions of this technique, and finally gave it a try.  After all, how hard could it be since I already had what I needed:  a book page, Quink black ink, and bleach. 

This wasn't my first result.  Turns out bleach goes bad after a few years.  I'm not sure how long I've had it, but apparently I don't use straight bleach too much.  I use cleaners with bleach and laundry detergent with bleach, but not straight bleach.

So my first attempt to make magic on a painted black page failed.  I tore pages from an old book ("soft" pages are good), and painted them with black ink.  After they dried, it looked more reddish than black, but that's okay.

With anticipation, I dipped Q-tip cotton swabs into some bleach and made marks.  Nothing.  Zilch.  I thought maybe it takes time to dissolve the ink, so I let them sit for a bit.  Still nothing. 

Then I figured if bleach is the tool, why not use a cleaner with bleach. I had Lysol all purpose cleaner with bleach, so I poured some in a little cup and used that. Worked instantly! What fun. Only later did I think about using the spray bottle itself that the cleaner came in to spray onto the pages. Very cool.


While waiting earlier for something to happen, I had used up the ink in my cup to make marks on other papers.  I also sprayed those.  Where the paper was white, I painted walnut ink over it.  Interestingly, where there were bleach spots on the white part (not visible until painted), they showed up darker with the walnut ink.

Laboratory experiments successful.  Onward...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Random Acts of Culture

How could you not have a wonderful day after experiencing this while shopping.  Thanks to my friend Connie for sending this link.

(Having lived previously outside Philadelphia in South Jersey, I thought I recognized the Wanamaker organ.  When I lived there in the 80s, there was a Wanamaker's Department Store, apparently now a Macy's.  Good to see the organ is still in operation!)
Where the organ resides in the Grand Court.
They just don't make deparment stores like this anymore.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Three

I have just finished the third book from an online class with LK Ludwig (class info here).  This is a great class, three for $15.  Can't beat that! 

My third book is the Seed Pearl stitch.  I just wanted a quick sample book for myself, but in retrospect, I should have used some real cords.  Instead, I used some old paper twist (? drawing a blank on what it is called) that was in a bag of stuff to get rid of.  Seemed like a good idea at the time - it was sturdy enough, handy, and I could fray the ends when done and fan the paper to make an interesting cover.

When LK says sewing over all those cords is sometimes like fighting an octopus, she wasn't kidding.  What I was using was even worse. Since it had been coiled for who-knows-how-many-years, it had a natural curve that would not lie straight while I was sewing.  And I'm not sure it's every going to be flexible enough for the book to lie flat.  But...I like the binding and will do one again.  For sure.

(In case you are wondering, book 2 is the wrapped straps, and my sample is in the Nov 4th post.  Book 1 is sewn over tapes, which is what I've used on all my stencil books and is in LK's book Creative Wildfire.  The sewn over tapes really has become my go-to technique lately!)

Good / Bad

They say you can't go home again.  Actually, you can, it's just never the same....  I just got back from Tennessee where I helped my mom celebrate her 80th birthday.  It was very low-key.  In fact, I had a hard time convincing her we did Not have a big surprise lurking around the corner.  She hates surprises, she hates not being in charge, and she hates not knowing what's going on.  She also mentioned while I was there that old photos depress her.  So, in a way, it's good that I never got my project finished that I wanted to make for her birthday, which involved heavy use of old family photos. 

My first day there, even though I had been in the car all day, we immediately got in her car and drove out in the boonies to the little Mennonite store.  They have great stuff there, and even if you don't buy anything, it's fun to look around.  Good that we made the trip (as it was a beautiful fall day), bad that they had switched to winter hours and were closed.  Guess I'll to wait until another time to get some more Chili Soup Mix (not to be confused with just chili). 

We went home through "town" (a term used very generously).  It was good to see a whole little park filled with flags honoring local veterans.

It was bad to turn around and see yet another vacant building falling apart and awaiting demolition.

However, other buildings have been painted in bright colors - such a contrast. 

My mom has been in her house 35 years, and just put it on the market last week.  She is ready for less yard, less space, less headaches.  That's good that she is thinking ahead while her mind is sharp.  Bad for us, but only temporarily, since it is sad to see the For Sale sign in the yard.  The biggest thing I will miss is sitting at the kitchen table, having coffee, looking outside in the backyard.  There are lots of bird feeders and lots of birds.  Beyond that is a large field where sometimes corn grows, sometimes soybeans, and sometimes cotton. 
This was taken a few years ago, after cotton had been harvested just before my visit.  They sure don't pick cotton like they used to when I was little.  If you've never picked cotton, the cotton bolls have a hard pointy outer shell, and it pokes the heck out of your fingers when you pull the soft cotton from the inside.  (Not that I have a lot of experience doing that.  I think my sister and I picked cotton once when we were younger.  I remember picking for what seemed like a very long time, taking my bag to the scales to be weighed, and being presented with a grand total of twenty-five cents.  Bummer.)  Of course, these days it's all done by big machines, which leaves the cotton in large blocks.  How they pick it up later is beyond me. 

I still get nostalgic when I see all the cotton fields in West Tennessee.  And that's good.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Doodly Do

I have been piddling here and there lately, just haven't posted any of it.  It's pure guilt on my part, because I have another project I need to be working on, and have been playing elsewhere instead.  Like doing this...

I've seen other people put photos in a sketchbook and build the page around it.  Not what I saw in my head, but I do plan to play with this some more.

I've also done more spraying and stenciling on paper And fabric (with new purple and blue spray I found on a sale table).  One really should iron the fabric before spraying, I learned.  But since my name is not "One", I neglected to do that!

I also tried out a new book binding, using things I already had lying around.  Came across this stack of paper left over from cutting other sheets down to size.  I always liked the tiny pattern of checks, and couldn't throw it out.  So I used it for my sample book to try out the stitching.  (The book is above in the previous photo.)  The twill tape has also been hanging around for a long time.  I think it was an experiment with alcohol inks on the tape. 

So many ideas... so little time...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Small Town

 This is why I like living in a small town (well, it does not even qualify as a town as it is unincorporated and does not even have a single traffic light.)
6:00 a.m. - Take out the trash.  Bring in the newspaper.
6:02 a.m. - Drive to the voting precinct.
6:05 a.m. - Arrive at voting precinct and park ten feet from the door.
6:10 a.m. - Vote.
6:12 a.m. - Drive out of the parking lot (but pause, roll down the passenger window, and take a picture of the flag fluttering in the breeze).
6:16 a.m. - Arrive home.
6:25 a.m. - Log onto work computer and begin my work day, right on time at 6:30 a.m.

No matter what your views or affiliation, voting is a precious right.  Hard to believe women did not get to vote in the beginning!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Sky

What could be more beautiful than a blue October sky?

But it is, after all, Halloween... so we need to make this more sinister.  So, is that a beautiful blue sky with the moon and a wispy cloud?  Or is an evil government experiment?? (Okay, even *I* am having trouble taking myself seriously now!)

In fact, that is not a cloud at all.  It is a chemtrail from an airplane.  You can tell because an airplane contrail disappears as the plane goes along.  The chemtrails linger for hours.

 I don't know that I believe all the conspiracy theories, but I do know some facts.  Fact is, these seem to occur more and more often.  It is not unusual to see grids in the sky almost daily.  I am more inclined to believe it is some kind of training exercise, but I have no idea for sure.

I just know that three hours elapsed between the first photos and the next one.  When I went outside later, the sky was literally covered with lines and grids. 

But the trees sure are pretty, with the sun shining through the leaves.  And that's a fact, Jack.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Being Brave

This is me doing something I've never done before. 

(Note to self:  Standing on a stool, looking up and painting on the wall does not work well with bifocals.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mike Meador

Life goes on.  We work, we play, we carry on.  But there still seems to be a void in the world where Mike Meador used to be.  Gaye and I went to Indianapolis yesterday to attend the memorial service.  I'm so glad we went.  The service was just wonderful.  Even though we have known Chris and Mike for many years, it was a lot of fun to hear what he was like in his high school years and on into adulthood (not to mention seeing the great slide show of old pictures).  Much was made of his time helping youth groups, and encouraging kids develop an interest in music.  In retrospect, it should be no surprise to hear his quirkiness was something he was apparently born with, as he has been that way his whole life!  Tales were told, starting with his mandatory time at his parents' dry cleaners after school each day, where he sat at a desk in the back with only a box of paper clips to keep him entertained for hours on end.  I guess that explains where he got his ability to make things and develop his uncanny skills with inanimate objects.

And speaking of such objects, where else can you attend a memorial service where there are trinkets on a table for all to take home with them.  I almost jumped up and down when I saw the tiny version of my favorite stencil, the little happy girl.

I didn't open the clear box it came in until I got home, and there inside I discovered the little book called "Little Lucy Rhymer".  It says at the end that it's a story by Mike Meador, 2004.  Sometimes I feel so dense.  Back in June, he posted comments about the name of the girl in the stencil, and I didn't know what he was talking about, but it makes more sense now - well, not really, but now I see why he recited that odd poem, because it was one of his previous projects.  (See his comments here.)  I'm going to miss his comments on my blog.  I knew when I was getting boring and when I was making someone laugh.  But that is still my favorite stencil, and she means even more now each time I use her.

He is having fun now, that's for sure.  And he knows so many things now that we can only dream of knowing.  Peace, Mike.  Hugs, Chris and Andy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Sometimes there just aren't any. 

When I got off work today and checked Ginny's blog here, I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach.  I learned that we have lost our friend Mike from Coffee Break. We have all lost a good soul on this earth.  He is on a grand caper, and oh, my, we are all safer now because heaven is getting some new gadgets.  There is a new inventor in town Up There.

I'll bet all the stories people will tell about Mike are funny ones.  He had a way of making everyone feel like they were in on one of his secret pranks.  He was made up of goodness and kindness.
Our thoughts, prayers, and love are sent to Chris and Andy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Art Frenzy

I have been in a dead zone artistically lately.  I chalked it up to simply a heavy work schedule, with little play time.  So when I started rummaging for my clear packing tape (to use for its intended purpose of sealing up a box for mailing) all that bottled up creative energy escaped and set forth to make things.  A couple of hours later, I had these.

One is a calendar idea I've been working on.  It's still not finished, but I added a few more things to it.  The middle book is one I had made a few weeks ago, but had never put the covers on.  That was because I wasn't totally happy with the book in general.  I was trying out a new size and a new plastic type cover.

The top book is just pure randomness (if that's a word).  I had some strips of paper left over from cutting some larger sheets.  It was nice paper, so I put it aside for the time being.  When I came across the paper again, I decided to either do something with it or toss it.  So I tore and folded, folded some more, and ended up with a little book about 4 x 5 inches in size.  Some paper strips were longer, so if they stuck out, I folded them in and sewed them on the machine.  The covers are scraps of watercolor paper where I had cleaned off my paint brush when I was playing with acrylic inks recently.  I added other scraps and bits (including a felt button on the cover).  As you can see, most of what I do is in the blue family, so when I have leftover scraps, they all work together well.

I still don't know what I'm going to do with this book, and it has no intended purpose right now.  But I sure had fun with it.  It pays to go with the flow, and follow the muse wherever it takes you.
  (Unfortunately, the box I was taping up never got mailed...)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I like to sometimes drop in at the only fabric store in my area.  I'm always amazed that chain stores don't have the same things in different cities.  I like the fact that my Hancock Fabric store takes their leftover scraps of fabric, bundles them up, and throws them in a pile on a table, or sometimes in wire baskets (they keep moving them, so "the hunt" never gets old).  Sometimes they have nothing to interest me.  Whatever I get, it's usually half a yard or less, and it's usually a dollar or less. 

I almost always grab the muslins, kona cottons, and canvas.  The whites and off-whites appeal to me for possible lettering projects.  Most of the time, the bundles aren't marked, so I don't really know what I'm getting.  But the smoothness of a particular bundle intrigued me, so I brought it home this week.

When I unrolled the bundle, there was faint printing on the edge that leads me to believe it is drapery lining.  I did play around with some lettering on it with acrylic inks.

I also played around in my stencil journal some more.  Not totally happy with the stitching on the fabric, but it's a no-pressure journal, after all.  So I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chair Art

My local paper had an article in the home section that mentioned "typographic decor" is the big thing all of a sudden, with letters and numbers, old typography, etc., showing up everywhere.  Hmmm... haven't we all been using those things ForEver already??  Nevertheless, they showed as an example a chair like this one.

It was made by Palette Industries.  Check them out here.

Thanks to everyone who confirmed that I have persimmons in my yard.  At least now I know.  And Jan knows how to dig into my brain and make me curious. (FYI, that is not my brain.)

She left a comment about cutting open the persimmons and predicting the kind of winter we will have, depending on the pattern inside.  So of course I had to go out and gather some.  Just to get a good sampling, I got some ripe ones off the ground as well as some unripe ones off the branches.

Ready to proceed with the cutting...

The first thing I noticed was that a couple of them had ants on them.  eeeek.  Got rid of the ants and proceeded.  They were really squishy to cut into.  And I didn't see a pattern either, because there was a hard seed in the center.  I looked at Jan's comment again and saw where I went wrong.  She said to cut the SEED to see the pattern, not the persimmon.  Ooooh, that's different. 

By then, I realized these suckers were slimy and sticky.  I did try to cut into a couple of seeds, but they kept getting away from me.  Since I type all day for a living, I decided that welding a sharp knife and some slippery seeds were probably not the best thing for me to be doing.  Slicing off a finger is not an option!  So I will just assume the winter will be cold, with snow and some unpredictable weather (with lots of slipping and sliding!)  I also learned I don't have the patience to gather enough pulp for persimmon pudding.